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Farm Workforce Modernization Act

For years, the produce industry and our agriculture sector partners have made an overwhelming case for legislation to reform our broken immigration system and help build a legal and reliable workforce. With the passage of the bipartisan Farm Workforce Modernization Act in the House of Representatives, we are now on the way towards finally achieving the reform our members so desperately need.

This legislation marks an important first step in that process and it includes the basic principles of immigration reform that we have long advocated for. The bill provides legal status for the current workforce, reforms the current federal agriculture guestworker program known as H-2A and ensures that we will have future access to a skilled, dedicated workforce. The bill also includes provisions to ensure the proper enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws, but is contingent upon including the reforms to the current and future workforce for which we have long advocated.

As our focus now turns to the Senate, we have the opportunity to replicate the bipartisan effort that resulted in passing the bill in the House. Given the dynamics of the Senate we expect a different process to unfold, but we will continue to be guided by our principles to reform the H-2A program to make it more workable for our growers and to address the legal status of our current workforce that is undocumented.

Farm Workforce Modernization Act Details

Agriculture Labor By The Numbers

  • There are an estimated 3 million foreign workers in the U.S. agricultural labor force
  • The number of full-time equivalent field and crop workers fell by more than 20 percent between 2002 and 2014
  • As of 2016, the average age of a farm worker in the U.S. is 40 years old
  • In 2018 the Department of Labor approved 242,762 H-2A positions and in just the last year the number of approved H-2A jobs grew by 21% and the number of employer applicants grew by over 16%

To learn more about the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, please contact John Hollay, Senior Director of Government Relations & Public Policy.